Capital Punishment Essay: Racial Bias In The Death Penalty

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Capital Punishment Essay: Racial Bias In The Death Penalty

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African American men and women, […]. Police brutality is one of the most austere infringements to the black community all around the United States. Police brutality originally began in the early 70s, due to the absence of equal rights and protection for African Americans. Over the last past several years, the matter has left African Americans dubious on if policemen are […]. Critical race theorists believe that the law largely contributes to racial oppression and works to keep white supremacy active.

They study the ways that the law does this currently and throughout history. Black Lives Matter […]. Introduction The brutality of the police in the United States is considered as one of the serious social problems affecting several cities across the country specifically in Chicago. Police brutality is the use of unnecessary, unfair, illegal, unauthorized, and unwarranted force, violence or brutality by law enforcement agents police against members of the public civilians […].

The relationship between law enforcement and African Americans has always been tricky, but what complicates this relationship even more is police brutality. Over the course of many years, police have become more harsh and violent, even to the point where some might describe them as militarized. This police brutality has also mainly been targeted towards […]. Introduction The treatment of minorities by the criminal justice system has been a hotly debated political topic for as long as I can remember. When adjusted for population, far more minorities, particularly African Americans, […]. Society has conflicting views regarding law enforcement. Study social media message boards and the comments regarding controversial police shootings, and it is obvious the differences lie primarily along racial lines.

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PapersOwl editors can correct your grammar mistakes and ensure your paper is in an academic style. Black Lives Matter was founded on July 13, , is an activist movement, campaigning against indiscriminate violence and racism towards black people, especially in the United States. Its major protests are usually against the racial inequality said to be inherent in the criminal justice system of the United States. Today, racial inequality has become the key subject in many a research paper, and you can find not just one essay on black lives matter movement — there are thousands of them. On social media, such publications are usually tagged blacklivesmatter , which helps to raise awareness and support and give it global attention it deserves.

Activists involved in the movement get contributions from individuals and corporations, and some even offer to write a free essay to sensitize the public about the issue. Talk shows, soap operas and movies have raised different topics with regards to the movement and what it stands for. While some feel the protesters should be more persuasive in their approach, others take an argumentative stance is what is best. Since this issue is a rather sensitive and prominent one in the society at large, college assignments and essays on the Black Lives Matter movement have become common these days.

As such, we offer a wide range of essay examples to help students complete their research efficiently. Don't know where to start? Give me your paper requirements and I connect you to an academic expert. Essay examples. Essay topics. About Black Lives Matter Movement The fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution are inherent for all. Black Lives Matter against Violence Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. Police Brutality — most Serious Violations to the Black Community Police brutality started in the early 70s, due to the lack of equal rights for African Americans. Slave Narrative to the Black Lives Matter Movement Black lives matter can be considered as an international movement, which has its origin in the African-American community.

Black Nationalist Movement: Malcolm X Throughout the history of the United States, the standing and equality of minorities, particularly those of African descent, has been debated and fought over, with many working for the goal of equality from myriad angles. Mary Surratt was executed by hanging in after being convicted of co-conspiring to assassinate Abraham Lincoln. She was the first black woman to be executed in the US since The tactic did not work.

The federal government executes women infrequently. Ethel Rosenberg , convicted of espionage, was executed in the electric chair on June 19, , and Bonnie Brown Heady , convicted of kidnapping and murder, was executed in the gas chamber later that same year on December Since Heady, only one more woman has been executed: Lisa Montgomery , convicted of killing a pregnant woman and cutting out and kidnapping her baby, by lethal injection in Indiana on January 13, Her execution had been stayed while her lawyers argued that she suffered from mental health issues, but the Supreme Court lifted the stay. In , the first ever juvenile, Thomas Graunger , was sentenced to death in Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts, for bestiality. Since then, other juveniles have been sentenced to the death penalty.

Kent v. United States , turned the tides for juvenile capital punishment sentencing when it limited the waiver discretion juvenile courts had. Before this case, juvenile courts had the freedom to waiver juvenile cases to criminal courts without a hearing, which did not make the waiving process consistent across states. Thoughts about abolishing the death penalty started happening between and In , Thompson v.

Oklahoma , the Supreme Court threw away Thompson's death sentence due to it being cruel and unusual punishment. It was not until Roper v. Simmons that the juvenile death penalty was abolished due to the United States Supreme Court finding that the execution of juveniles is in conflict with the Eighth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment , which deal with cruel and unusual punishment. Prior to abolishing the juvenile death penalty in , any juvenile aged 16 years or older could be sentenced to death in some states, the last of whom was Scott Hain , executed in Oklahoma in for burning two people to death in a robbery at age Aggravating factors for seeking capital punishment of murder vary greatly among death penalty states. California has twenty-two. Several states have included child murder to their list of aggravating factors, but the victim's age under which the murder is punishable by death varies.

In , Texas raised this age from six to ten. In some states, the high number of aggravating factors has been criticized on account of giving prosecutors too much discretion in choosing cases where they believe capital punishment is warranted. In California especially, an official commission proposed, in , to reduce these factors to five multiple murders, torture murder , murder of a police officer, murder committed in jail, and murder related to another felony. In order for a person to be eligible for a death sentence when convicted of aggravated first-degree murder, the jury or court when there is not a jury must determine at least one of sixteen aggravating factors that existed during the crime's commission.

The following is a list of the 16 aggravating factors under federal law. The opinion of the court in Kennedy v. Louisiana says that the ruling does not apply to "treason, espionage, terrorism, and drug kingpin activity, which are offenses against the State". Since no one is on death row for such offenses, the court has yet to rule on the constitutionality of the death penalty applied for them. Treason , espionage and large-scale drug trafficking are all capital crimes under federal law. Treason is also punishable by death in six states Arkansas, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Missouri. Large-scale drug trafficking is punishable by death in two states Florida and Missouri , [] and aircraft hijacking in two others Georgia and Mississippi.

Vermont has an invalidated pre- Furman statute allowing the electric chair for treason despite abolishing capital punishment in The legal administration of the death penalty in the United States typically involves five critical steps: 1 prosecutorial decision to seek the death penalty 2 sentencing , 3 direct review, 4 state collateral review, and 5 federal habeas corpus. Clemency, through which the Governor or President of the jurisdiction can unilaterally reduce or abrogate a death sentence, is an executive rather than judicial process. While judges in criminal cases can usually impose a harsher prison sentence than the one demanded by prosecution, the death penalty can be handed down only if the accuser has specifically decided to seek it.

In the decades since Furman , new questions have emerged about whether or not prosecutorial arbitrariness has replaced sentencing arbitrariness. A study by Pepperdine University School of Law published in Temple Law Review , surveyed the decision-making process among prosecutors in various states. The authors found that prosecutors' capital punishment filing decisions are marked by local "idiosyncrasies", and that wide prosecutorial discretion remains because of overly broad criteria.

California law, for example, has 22 "special circumstances", making nearly all first-degree murders potential capital cases. A proposed remedy against prosecutorial arbitrariness is to transfer the prosecution of capital cases to the state attorney general. In , Florida governor Rick Scott removed all capital cases from local prosecutor Aramis Ayala because she decided to never seek the death penalty no matter the gravity of the crime.

Of the 27 states with the death penalty, 25 require the sentence to be decided by the jury , and 24 require a unanimous decision by the jury. Two states don't use juries in death penalty cases. In Nebraska the sentence is decided by a three-judge panel, which must unanimously agree on death, and the defendant is sentenced to life imprisonment if one of the judges is opposed. At least 10 jurors must concur, and a retrial happens if the jury deadlocks. In all states in which the jury is involved, only death-qualified prospective jurors can be selected in such a jury, to exclude both people who will always vote for the death sentence and those who are categorically opposed to it.

However, the states differ on what happens if the penalty phase results in a hung jury : [] []. The first outcome is referred as the "true unanimity" rule, while the third has been criticized as the "single-juror veto" rule. If a defendant is sentenced to death at the trial level, the case then goes into a direct review. An appellate court examines the record of evidence presented in the trial court and the law that the lower court applied and decides whether the decision was legally sound or not.

If the appellate court finds that no significant legal errors occurred in the capital sentencing hearing, the appellate court will affirm the judgment, or let the sentence stand. At times when a death sentence is affirmed on direct review, supplemental methods to attack the judgment, though less familiar than a typical appeal, do remain. These supplemental remedies are considered collateral review, that is, an avenue for upsetting judgments that have become otherwise final. If the case is a federal death penalty case, it proceeds immediately from direct review to federal habeas corpus.

Although all states have some type of collateral review, the process varies widely from state to state. State collateral review, though an important step in that it helps define the scope of subsequent review through federal habeas corpus, is rarely successful in and of itself. Only around 6 percent of death sentences are overturned on state collateral review. In Virginia, state habeas corpus for condemned men are heard by the state supreme court under exclusive original jurisdiction since , immediately after direct review by the same court. To reduce litigation delays, other states require convicts to file their state collateral appeal before the completion of their direct appeal, [] or provide adjudication of direct and collateral attacks together in a "unitary review".

After a death sentence is affirmed in state collateral review, the prisoner may file for federal habeas corpus , which is a unique type of lawsuit that can be brought in federal courts. Federal habeas corpus is a type of collateral review, and it is the only way that state prisoners may attack a death sentence in federal court other than petitions for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court after both direct review and state collateral review. The purpose of federal habeas corpus is to ensure that state courts, through the process of direct review and state collateral review, have done a reasonable job in protecting the prisoner's federal constitutional rights.

Prisoners may also use federal habeas corpus suits to bring forth new evidence that they are innocent of the crime, though to be a valid defense at this late stage in the process, evidence of innocence must be truly compelling. James Liebman, a professor of law at Columbia Law School, stated in that his study found that when habeas corpus petitions in death penalty cases were traced from conviction to completion of the case, there was "a 40 percent success rate in all capital cases from to ".

A similar process is available for prisoners sentenced to death by the judgment of a federal court. The AEDPA also provides an expeditious habeas procedure in capital cases for states meeting several requirements set forth in it concerning counsel appointment for death row inmates. In , Congress conferred the determination of whether a state fulfilled the requirements to the U. As of March [update] , the Department of Justice has still not granted any certifications. If the federal court refuses to issue a writ of habeas corpus , the death sentence ordinarily becomes final for all purposes.

In recent times, however, prisoners have postponed execution through another avenue of federal litigation; the Civil Rights Act of — codified at 42 U. While direct appeals are normally limited to just one and automatically stay the execution of the death sentence, Section lawsuits are unlimited, but the petitioner will be granted a stay of execution only if the court believes he has a likelihood of success on the merits.

Traditionally, Section was of limited use for a state prisoner under sentence of death because the Supreme Court has held that habeas corpus , not Section , is the only vehicle by which a state prisoner can challenge his judgment of death. McDonough case, however, the United States Supreme Court approved the use of Section as a vehicle for challenging a state's method of execution as cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The theory is that a prisoner bringing such a challenge is not attacking directly his judgment of death, but rather the means by which that the judgment will be carried out.

Therefore, the Supreme Court held in the Hill case that a prisoner can use Section rather than habeas corpus to bring the lawsuit. Yet, as Clarence Hill 's own case shows, lower federal courts have often refused to hear suits challenging methods of execution on the ground that the prisoner brought the claim too late and only for the purposes of delay. Further, the Court's decision in Baze v. Rees , upholding a lethal injection method used by many states, has narrowed the opportunity for relief through Section While the execution warrant is issued by the governor in several states, in the vast majority it is a judicial order, issued by a judge or by the state supreme court at the request of the prosecution. The warrant usually sets an execution day. Some states instead provide a longer period, such as a week or 10 days to carry out the execution.

This is designated to avoid issuing a new warrant in case of a last-minute stay of execution that would be vacated only few days or few hours later. In recent years there has been an average of one death sentence for every murder convictions in the United States. Alabama has the highest per capita rate of death sentences. This is because Alabama was one of the few states that allowed judges to override a jury recommendation in favor of life imprisonment, a possibility it removed in March The distribution of death sentences among states is loosely proportional to their populations and murder rates.

California , which is the most populous state, also has the largest death row, with over inmates. Wyoming , which is the least populous state, has only one condemned man. But executions are more frequent and happen more quickly after sentencing in conservative states. Texas , which is the second most populous state in the Union, carried out over executions during the post- Furman era, more than a third of the national total. California has carried out only 13 executions during the same period, and has carried out none since Approximately Approximately 1. As of May 20, , the Death Penalty Information Center reports that there are 51 women on death row. Since , 15, lawful executions are confirmed to have been carried out in jurisdictions of, or now of, the United States, of these, , or 3.

While always comparatively rare, women are significantly less likely to be executed in the modern era than in the past. Historically, the states that have executed the most women are California, Texas and Florida; though unlike Texas and Florida, California has not executed a woman in the post- Furman era. All 27 states with the death penalty for murder provide lethal injection as the primary method of execution. Vermont's remaining death penalty statute for treason provides electrocution as the method of execution. Some states allow other methods than lethal injection, but only as secondary methods to be used merely at the request of the prisoner or if lethal injection is unavailable.

Several states continue to use the historical three-drug protocol: firstly an anesthetic , secondly pancuronium bromide , a paralytic, and finally potassium chloride to stop the heart. While some state statutes specify the drugs required, a majority do not, giving more flexibility to prison officers. Pressures from anti-death penalty activists and shareholders have made it difficult for correctional services to get the chemicals.

Hospira, the only U. Since then, some states have used other anesthetics, such as pentobarbital , etomidate , [] or fast-acting benzodiazepines like midazolam. In , Ohio approved the use of an intramuscular injection of mg of hydromorphone a fold lethal overdose for an opioid-naive person [] and a supratherapeutic dose of midazolam as a backup means of carrying out executions when a suitable vein cannot be found for intravenous injection. Lethal injection was held to be a constitutional method of execution by the U.

Supreme Court in three cases: Baze v. Rees , Glossip v. Gross , and Bucklew v. Precythe In the following states, death row inmates with an execution warrant may choose to be executed by: []. In four states Arizona, Kentucky, Tennessee and Utah , the alternative method is offered only to inmates sentenced to death for crimes committed prior to a specified date usually when the state switched from the earlier method to lethal injection. See Stewart v. LaGrand , U. Depending on the state, the following alternative methods are statutorily provided in case lethal injection is either found unconstitutional by a court or unavailable for practical reasons: [] [] []. Three states Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Utah have added back-up methods recently in and or have expanded their application fields in reaction to the shortage of lethal injection drugs.

Oklahoma and Mississippi are the only states allowing more than two methods of execution in their statutes, providing lethal injection, nitrogen hypoxia , electrocution and firing squad to be used in that order if all earlier methods are unavailable. The nitrogen option was added by the Oklahoma Legislature in and has never been used in a judicial execution. Some states such as Florida have a larger provision dealing with execution methods unavailability, requiring their state departments of corrections to use "any constitutional method" if both lethal injection and electrocution are found unconstitutional. This was designed to make unnecessary any further legislative intervention in that event, but the provision applies only to legal not practical infeasibility.

The method of execution of federal prisoners for offenses under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of is that of the state in which the conviction took place. If the state has no death penalty, the judge must choose a state with the death penalty for carrying out the execution. The federal government has a facility at U. Penitentiary Terre Haute and regulations only for executions by lethal injection, but the United States Code allows U. Marshals to use state facilities and employees for federal executions. The last public execution in the U. It was the last execution in the nation at which the general public was permitted to attend without any legally imposed restrictions.

Similar to " public record " or "public meeting", it means that anyone who wants to attend the execution may do so. Around , a political movement developed in the United States to mandate private executions. Several states enacted laws which required executions to be conducted within a "wall" or "enclosure", or to "exclude public view". Most state laws currently use such explicit wording to prohibit public executions, while others do so only implicitly by enumerating the only authorized witnesses. All states allow news reporters to be execution witnesses for information of the general public, except Wyoming which allows only witnesses authorized by the condemned. An hour or two before the execution, the condemned is offered religious services and to choose their last meal except in Texas which abolished it in The execution of Timothy McVeigh on June 11, , was witnessed by over people, most by closed-circuit television.

Gallup, Inc. Accordingly, any analysis of death penalty attitudes must account for the responsiveness of such attitudes, as well as their reputed resistance to change. A study found that the belief that the death penalty helps victims' families to heal may be wrong; more often than finding closure, victims' families felt anger and wanted revenge, with potential side effects of depression, PTSD and a decreased satisfaction with life. Furthermore, the researchers found that a sense of compassion or remorse expressed from the perpetrator to the victim's family had a statistically significant positive effect on the family's ability to find closure.

Capital punishment is a controversial issue, with many prominent organizations and individuals participating in the debate. Amnesty International and other groups oppose capital punishment on moral grounds. The United States is one of the four developed countries that still practice capital punishment, along with Japan , Singapore , and Taiwan. Religious groups are widely split on the issue of capital punishment. Reform Judaism has formally opposed the death penalty since , when the Union of American Hebrew Congregations now the Union for Reform Judaism resolved "that in the light of modern scientific knowledge and concepts of humanity, the resort to or continuation of capital punishment either by a state or by the national government is no longer morally justifiable.

In October , the American Law Institute voted to disavow the framework for capital punishment that it had created in , as part of the Model Penal Code , "in light of the current intractable institutional and structural obstacles to ensuring a minimally adequate system for administering capital punishment". A study commissioned by the institute had said that experience had proved that the goal of individualized decisions about who should be executed and the goal of systemic fairness for minorities and others could not be reconciled.

Advocates of the death penalty say that it deters crime, is a good tool for prosecutors in plea bargaining , [] improves the community by eliminating recidivism by executed criminals, provides "closure" to surviving victims or loved ones, and is a just penalty. Some advocates against the death penalty argue that "most of the rest of the world gave up on human sacrifice a long time ago. The murder rate is highest in the South 6. A report by the US National Research Council in stated that studies claiming a deterrent effect are "fundamentally flawed" and should not be used for policy decisions. Data shows that the application of the death penalty is strongly influenced by racial bias.

Various commentators predicted that the death penalty would likely have disappeared in the United States if Hillary Clinton had been elected U. Many columnists came to the conclusion that it will remain indefinitely. One of the main arguments against the use of capital punishment in the United States is that there has been a long history of botched executions. Radelet described a "botched execution" as an execution that causes the prisoner to suffer for a long period of time before they die. The following is a short list of examples of botched executions that have occurred in the United States.

Austin Sarat , a professor of jurisprudence and political science at Amherst College, in his book Gruesome Spectacles: Botched Executions and America's Death Penalty , found that from to , executions were botched out of a total of 8,, or 3. Sarat writes that between and the rate of botched executions was higher than ever: 8. In states with the death penalty, the governor usually has the discretionary power to commute a death sentence or to stay its execution. In some states the governor is required to receive an advisory or binding recommendation from a separate board. In a few states like Georgia, the board decides alone on clemency. At the federal level, the power of clemency belongs to the President of the United States.

The largest number of clemencies was granted in January in Illinois when outgoing Governor George Ryan , who had already imposed a moratorium on executions, pardoned four death-row inmates and commuted the sentences of the remaining to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Previous post- Furman mass clemencies took place in in New Mexico , when Governor Toney Anaya commuted all death sentences because of his personal opposition to the death penalty. In , outgoing Ohio Governor Dick Celeste commuted the sentences of eight prisoners, among them all four women on the state's death row. And during his two terms — as Florida 's Governor, Bob Graham , although a strong death penalty supporter who had overseen the first post- Furman involuntary execution as well as 15 others, agreed to commute the sentences of six people on the grounds of doubts about guilt or disproportionality.

All executions were suspended through the country between September and April At that time, the U. Supreme Court was examining the constitutionality of lethal injection in Baze v. This was the longest period with no executions in the United States since The Supreme Court ultimately upheld this method in a 7—2 ruling. In addition to the states that have no valid death penalty statute, the following 13 states and 2 jurisdictions are noted that have an official moratorium , or have had no executions for more than ten years, as of Since , four states have executed only condemned prisoners who voluntarily waived further appeals: Pennsylvania has executed three inmates, Oregon two, Connecticut one, and New Mexico one.

In the latter state, Governor Toney Anaya commuted the sentences of all five condemned prisoners on death row in late In California , United States District Judge Jeremy Fogel suspended all executions in the state on December 15, , ruling that the implementation used in California was unconstitutional but that it could be fixed. On November 25, , the Kentucky Supreme Court affirmed a decision by the Franklin County Circuit Court suspending executions until the state adopts regulations for carrying out the penalty by lethal injection.

In November , Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber announced a moratorium on executions in Oregon, canceling a planned execution and ordering a review of the death penalty system in the state. Wolf will issue a reprieve for every execution until a commission on capital punishment, which was established in by the Pennsylvania State Senate , produces a recommendation. Heidnik in On July 25, , U. Attorney General William Barr announced that the federal government would resume executions using pentobarbital, rather than the three-drug cocktail previously used.

Five convicted death row inmates were scheduled to be executed in December and January District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan issued a preliminary injunction preventing the resumption of federal executions. Plaintiffs in the case argued that the use of pentobarbital may violate the Federal Death Penalty Act of The last convict executed was Dustin Higgs on January 16, On July 1, , U. Attorney General Merrick Garland halted all federal executions pending review of the changes made under the Trump administration. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Overview of capital punishment in the United States. This article is about an overview of capital punishment amongst all jurisdictions in the United States.

For capital punishment by the federal government, see Capital punishment by the United States federal government. Capital punishment repealed, never instituted, or struck down as unconstitutional 27 [a]. Capital punishment in statute, but executions formally suspended 7. Capital punishment in statute, but no executions within the last 10 years 9. Capital punishment in statute, but executions informally suspended 1. Executions carried out within the last 10 years Capital punishment abolished or struck down. Capital punishment is a legal penalty. Further information: Furman v.

Further information: Gregg v. See also: Felony murder and the death penalty in the United States. States with the death penalty. States without the death penalty. See also: List of offenders scheduled to be executed in the United States. Main article: Race and capital punishment in the United States. State uses only this method. State uses this method primarily but also has other methods. State once used this method, but does not today. State once adopted this method, but dropped before its use. State has never adopted this method. This section is written like a personal reflection, personal essay, or argumentative essay that states a Wikipedia editor's personal feelings or presents an original argument about a topic.

Please help improve it by rewriting it in an encyclopedic style. July Learn how and when to remove this template message. Capital punishment repealed or struck down as unconstitutional. Capital punishment in statute, but executions formally suspended. Capital punishment in statute, but no recent executions. Capital punishment in statute, executions informally suspended. Executions recently carried out. Some abolitionist states may still allow one to be sentenced to death for crimes committed before the abolition of the capital punishment in that state.

Also includes laws where abolition has not yet taken effect, but an act to abolish it has been enacted. National Conference of State Legislatures. Retrieved June 23, Bienen Northwestern University Press. ISBN Columbia University Press. An Introduction to Criminal Psychology. Bryant; Dennis L. Peck Sage Publications. CRC Press. Retrieved March 16, Guatemala, Philippines, Thailand The Independent. October 13, February 17, Helena Independent Record. Death Penalty Information Center. Retrieved April 24, Retrieved January 26, June 21, Retrieved June 21, Archived from the original on May 13, Retrieved May 13, Retrieved February 2, Retrieved July 14, Retrieved May 11, Retrieved January 16, Joe Biden for President.

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ISSN Retrieved March 24, June 20, Retrieved August 6, Simmons , U. Retrieved May 7, ABC News. Archived from the original on May 24, The Washington Post. Archived from the original on May 14, Retrieved May 14, A legislative committee tossed out a bill Tuesday aimed at reinstating the state's death penalty, which a court had suspended last year. It was an extraordinary bit of drama, not least because a top Democrat who once strongly supported capital punishment led the fight to end it. August 2, Archived from the original on July 1, December 14, Agence France-Presse. March 18, Archived from the original on April 18, Retrieved December 23, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson made his state the 15th in the nation to outlaw capital punishment when he signed a law abolishing the death penalty, his office said.

Chicago Tribune. March 9, Retrieved March 9, April 12, April 25, General Assembly repeals death penalty". Retrieved November 9, Concord Monitor. May 30, Retrieved May 30, The Colorado Sun. March 23, March 24, Archived from the original on March 24, The Hill. Retrieved May 2, Public Radio International. Detroit Free Press. Retrieved October 11, The Denver Post.

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